'We're cautiously optimistic,' says TISD superintendent about sc - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

'We're cautiously optimistic,' says TISD superintendent about school finance system ruling

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

Legislators and public school officials are reacting to a ruling that once again declares the state's school finance system is unconstitutional. 

The Austin judge who released that ruling Thursday made a similar decision from the bench in 2013. Both decisions target the so-called "Robin Hood" funding formula, which is used to determine how state funding is distributed to public schools. 

"We're cautiously optimistic, not only for Tyler school children, but for school children across the state of Texas, that Thursday's ruling was a positive one," says Dr. Marty Crawford, the superintendent for TISD. 

Crawford says he is cautious because Tyler schools have been on both sides of the state's controversial "Robin Hood" system.

"At times in the past, we were considered a district that had average means. Recently, through some of the adjustments in the formulas, we are considered somewhat of a recapture district."

State Representative Matt Schaefer says the system is unequal.

"Sometimes you see schools that have essentially the same type of school populations, demographics and size, and yet one school gets less money per student than another school does."

He says schools are used to this debate.

Longview ISD said in a statement, "We are not surprised by the ruling. We do feel that schools are underfunded and the legislature needs to revisit the formula for school funding." 

Schaefer agrees, but says the ruling is not the right approach.

"Ultimately, the inequities in school funding need to be resolved by elections and policy decisions, and not lawsuits and court rooms."

He says education funding is a top priority for legislators on both sides. Crawford says it could be some time before schools see any results.

"There's a lot of work to be done between the ruling and any action."

The written ruling can now be appealed to the state supreme court. Several East Texas school districts, including Longview, Spring Hill, White Oak, Kilgore, Gladewater, Sabine, Union Grove, Ore City, New Diana, Big Sandy, Leverett's Chapel, Harleton and Tyler ISDs, are part of the original lawsuit against the state.

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